Conrad Thompson caught up with Sporting News to talk several topics of note, including his upcoming podcast with Arn Anderson. The mortgage man turned wrestling podcast pro states what fans can expect from Arn’s show and also talks about the hardships of hosting Starrcast II in Las Vegas, which in turns means a whole lot more optimism for Starrcast’s return to Chicago this Labor Day weekend. Quotes from the feature are below:
Conrad Thompson talks Starrcast III:
SN: When we talked about a month before the event, you said you had all these notes from the first event and implemented them into Starrcast II. What kind of feedback have you received from this event to put into Starrcast III?
CT: For starters, we had this one at two different properties. For the one in August, our staff is already familiar with the venue. Running a place for the second time makes the planning a whole lot easier. You know the floor plans already and how the seating is going to look. There are no questions, and you don’t really need to do a survey.
I’m looking forward to returning to Chicago and having it look like a much different product than it was the first time because now we have done two of these. We’re excited.
On Chicago vs. Las Vegas for Starrcast festivities:
SN: In your mind, which city was better for Starrcast: Chicago or Las Vegas?
CT: Chicago, hands down. It’s a much different animal and much more familiar. It’s going to be a bigger, more fun and better experience, I think. I think Chicago runs away with it.
SN: What logistic problems if any, did you have in Las Vegas because you were running two different venues and having more talent?
CT: This event was a lot more difficult than the first one because it was two venues, and everybody isn’t in the same spot creates challenges. Last year, we had the whole hotel to ourselves, so wrestlers and fans alike were all right there. It was much easier to get people where they needed to be. And of course, Vegas unions are something that we hadn’t dealt with before. It was an experience, to say the least.
SN: I’ve talked to people in the UFC that have said they have issues with unions when they have done shows at Madison Square Garden. For the fans that don’t know, what do you mean by working with the unions in Las Vegas?
CT: You bring your staff in to handle X, Y, and Z and then you’re told, ‘No, that’s a union job’. We aren’t talking about a sound engineer or something mechanical. It’s carrying a box of this in and being told it’s a union job. Guys couldn’t even carry their own banners and tables. That’s not normal (laughs). Guys are used to bringing in everything in and setting up themselves. They couldn’t do that. It’s all a union thing. Now that means you have more added expense that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Starrcast II ended up costing seven or eight times more than my overhead than Starrcast I.
SN: People see that statement and will be like, ‘What’s the point of going back to Las Vegas if your overhead is that high?’ Is going back to Vegas to do another event in your plans down the line if you keep doing them?
CT: No. Not Las Vegas again because of the overhead and the flights. Vegas is a fly-in town. We sold more tickets for Starrcast II, but because of the increased overhead with airfare and hotels and other little factors that happen in Vegas, your overhead goes way up. Chicago is a better place for us, and I’d rather not go back to Vegas.
On having a podcast with Arn Anderson:
SN: Arn Anderson did his first interview since his exit from WWE with Tony Schiavone at Starrcast II. During their time on stage, it was announced that you would be doing a fifth podcast and it would be with Arn. How did it come about to where you are adding another podcast?
CT: We spoke the week after his exit from WWE was announced. We made it a point to talk with each other in person the following week and made the deal right there. So I would say two weeks or so after he left WWE and now we’re rolling.
SN: Was getting Arn to agree to do a podcast with you the easier than when you talked with Eric, Tony, JR, and Bruce?
CT: Yeah, man. It was established. He knew the podcast with Bruce is doing well, the one with Bischoff is doing well, and he is lifelong friends with Tony Schiavone. He knew what to expect, so it was relatively smooth, I suppose.
SN: What can expect out of this podcast that is different than the ones you are doing right now?
CT: Everything in his career up until now. The high potential in doing a podcast with Arn is that Arn was John Cena’s agent. So all that stuff that Bruce missed because he was gone, Arn is there to fill in the blanks for. Everything from The Undertaker’s streak ending to CM Punk leaving. So it’s going to be everything in between including the territory days from Georgia Championship Wrestling, the Alabama territories and talk about matches in Pensacola and when he made the jump to Jim Crockett Promotions which led to the Four Horseman, where he made a name for himself. Who else has had a career like that going from the territory days to the NWA to Jim Crockett Promotions? It’s WCW, and it’s WWE/WWF. It’s a unique story and one we have never had before because except for the show that I had with Ric (Flair), I have been with office and never an actual in-ring performer. So it’s a different take and coming from someone who’s never done a shoot interview or a real book and never really broken kayfabe. The idea that we get to do that now is great because everyone will get to hear what they have listened to for years backstage. It’s a unique combination. It’s going to be a really popular show.